After suffering an emotional 80-76 loss to Boise State in the Mountain West tournament championship game last year, the Fresno State women’s basketball program is hoping to use this difficult loss to learn from it and build on it to achieve greater success this season.
The team are bringing the Caviinder Twins’ dynamic scoring duo back to the field this season, seeking to lead their squad with their overall scoring ability, playing skills and gritty defense.
Haley Caviinder stood out last season by becoming the fastest to score 1,000 points in program history, achieving the feat in just 57 games.
Caviinder was only the third sophomore in Mountain West history to be named Conference Player of the Year and the first since 2004. Last season, she averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game to win the prestigious award.
“She puts in so much overtime and tries to improve every day, so seeing her being able to hit that goal last year was definitely something I’m very proud of her so shouts Haley,” said Hanna Caviinder said about it. the fulfillment of his sister.
Ready to start again this season as a junior, Haley started in an exhibition game against Fresno Pacific University with a double-double scoring 21 points and 10 rebounds. She also added four assists and an overnight steal in a full stat line.
Hanna mentioned that her sister will adjust to become the team leader this season.
“She’s taking on a different role as a playmaker this year and she’s been working on it all summer,” Hannah said.
However, Haley was not the winning top scorer. Her sister Hanna beat her by one, scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds while handing out four assists to go with them. She showed off her defensive skills along with intercepting passes and catching loose balls, racking up three interceptions.
The twins shot almost identically through the night, Haley shooting 9 of 15 and 2 of 3 from the 3 point line and Hanna shooting 9 of 14 and 1 of 2 of three.
The team spirit and work ethic the duo possess is unmatched while on the ground, showing great speed and quickness when sprinting after loose balls and passing for interceptions. They are practically the same type of players and can substitute for each other without losing strength for the team on the pitch.
This year’s squad has many new faces and some key feedback.
One of the newcomers who stood out in the exhibition game was Jessica Peterson.
The 6-foot-2 freshman from Etiwanda High School had a solid game with nine points, catching four boards, adding a block and a steal in the victory.
Another new face who impacted the game was Tamia Stricklin, from Washington, scoring six points and also taking three rebounds.
“We have three new kids right now in the starting lineup and we have four new freshmen and you know you’ve seen a few minutes of Jess Peterson, she did a great job and Tamia Stricklin is going to be a great player. for us, ”Head Coach White mentioned.
She added, “It was nice to see them see different combinations, do some of our stuff and really calm down and play Bulldog basketball again.”
The more seasoned players on this list should help calm those nerves and balance the inexperience and youthfulness of the squad this season.
6-foot-2 Brazilian senior Maria Guimaraes is certainly one of those veteran players who has made strides in her game to help the team on the glass and contribute by scoring and playing solid defense in the paint this season. .
The starting center was the Bulldogs’ third-leading scorer and rebounder on the night behind the Caviinders, scoring 11 points and catching six boards with an assist as well.
“I think this year is different from last year. We had a summer, so I was able to work with the coaches here and so I think that was the biggest difference because I had more time to work more, and I think that helped a lot ”, Guimaraes said.
Another Bulldog with experience was senior babysitter Yanina Todorova. The Bulgarian native tallied six points and took three rebounds, as well as two steals and an assist in the blowout.
Look for Guimaraes and Todorova to provide veteran leadership, intelligence and poise to an otherwise young team this season.
Throughout the night, the Bulldogs shot the ball well, reaching a 54% field goal percentage. But they pulled 33.3% from the city center.
Something they’re going to have to improve on to move forward is shooting free throws. They shot 47.6% of the line, 10 for 21 overnight.
“I don’t think it will be a problem. I think we’re definitely going to improve on that. Pull a few more extras after practice, but, yeah, we’ll definitely improve on that. It’s not good, ”Hanna said.
White also said the team needs to familiarize themselves with free throws with fans in the stands again this year.
“Well the funny thing is, last year I blamed it on the lack of noise. You know, it felt like a technique every time you shot a free throw, and so this year I think we got comfortable with that, ”White said.
Despite the free throw, the Bulldogs put in an outstanding performance in a resounding victory in their exhibition game.
They will kick off the regular season on the Utah road against Utah Valley this Thursday, November 11, with a kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m.